Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. Once upon a time there was a man called Martin Williams. After the demise of his previous band, the Nilon Bombers, the two members left standing, Martin and Gareth Ballard, began auditioning new vocalists, ‘when a someone recommended Anna. Saw her in a bar in Cheltenham doing an acoustic set, great voice, great songs, blew me away. Gareth buggered off to Bath then on to Germany, Anna and I continued to write and record and use the internet to promote our music whilst finishing off college courses. It’s only been over the last 18 months to 2 years that we’ve got our act together.’
Having made two internet only albums ‘Archangel’ and ‘Star’, the band seem aware that ‘in the real world we hardly exist’, however the release of their proper debut ‘Speed of Life pt 2’ on May 13th should hopefully change things. The album was to be produced by Gavin Monaghan(Carina Round), so what happened?
‘You can pretty much work with any producer you like if you have the right money and they have at least an inclination towards your music’ explains Martin. ‘We were going to record with Gavin late last year (he’s a big fan of Silverman and we’re big fans of his work, especially the Carina Round and Bonebox records). It didn’t come off for one reason or another. We’re hoping to get it together later this year sometime.’
For anyone who’s yet to hear Silverman, comparisons attributed to the band lie somewhere between Portishead, the Sneaker Pimps (when Kelli Ali was still vocalist) and Low. Although according to Martin, the band also gets compared to ‘Tori Amos even Madonna, which is cool ‘cause their artists we like. We’d describe our music as intimate, introspective, articulate, evocative, beautiful, you get the picture.’
And it’s not surprising that Silverman’s music conveys such beauty with the calibre of influences; everything from ‘the struggles we have with our own minds and lives to John Denver and Mogwai, the Carpenters to Low. Though we are probably influenced more than we’d care to acknowledge, I don’t think we wear them on our sleeves.’
Hailing from Cheltenham, what are the bands thoughts on the area and lack of ‘musical heritage’?
‘Cheltenham is a virtual desert when it comes to anything along the lines of music and alternative culture’ declares Martin clarifying his view almost instantaneously. ‘Pam Ayres is considered beatnik round here, Belinda Carlisle cutting edge. We pretty much just exist in Cheltenham; we tend to live our lives in our warped imaginations. There are a few attempts emerging of people trying to get live stuff together and we’re setting up an acoustic/semi acoustic club called AvidivA, which is going to be legendary. Cheltenham dose do us few favours other than being well located to reach other towns and cities for gigs.’
Having once just been Martin and Anna with friends and favours for the other instrumentation, is Silverman now a permanent band?
‘Yes we’re a band now, Mark, Steve and Alan are onboard permanently (I hope) and without their support and commitment, especially over that last year or so, things would have been tough,’ declares Martin. ‘Friends and co-conspirators were involved in recording the album and that will continue to be the case. Whoever and whatever is required to make the songs work best.’
The internet was a vitally important factor in the band’s success, embracing the medium so successfully that over $3000 was earned from MP3.com and a particularly large fanbase established.
‘We’ve certainly enjoyed a great deal from being on the Internet’ explains Martin. ‘Without going off on a huge rambling about our life on the Internet tip, there have been 3 particular benefits.
Supporters of the internet and schemes such as MP3.com as the band are, will the new album still be available to download now they have secured a contract with Uglyman records?
‘Yes, we’ll certainly have tracks @ mp3.com and I’m sure we will be well represented on Napster, Kazza, Morpheus etc. Ctrl Alt Del which is scheduled to be a single in April has been up at mp3.com a couple of months already. The more people who can access our music and enjoy it the better. It’s promotional and until we give people the option of buying our records in stores or mail-order we’ve had no alternative way of turning people onto us. We trust that our ‘official product’ will be enticing enough with the artwork, CD-ROM and other stuff to make people want to support us through buying it. Is this the case and hasn’t this always been the case for anybody making and trying to sell anything?’
Their success in the virtual world of music was highlighted when the band won Best Music award in the first ever Internet film and music awards, which involved being flown to Los Angeles to collect the award. ‘That’s when we thought to ourselves, ‘we can do this’.’
And their fanbase is something Silverman take seriously. Currently in existence is the Silverman e-team, an idea Martin admits they ‘nicked from other bands’. The e-team is a way for the fans to get involved helping to promote the band. ‘Basically it’s a group of fans who take the time and trouble to go out online and spread the word. Leaving messages on similar sounding artists’ bulletin boards, ezine forums, that sort of thing. In return we give them access to new or demo songs and stuff. Kind aren’t we?’
At present the public and ‘industry’ may be unaware of Silverman’s existence, which again the band are fully aware of. ‘Until we’ve released our record and achieved some offline profile we’ll remain beneath the consensus radar. You can’t help but get the impression that most A&R aren’t prepared in their own minds to commit to either liking or disliking without an ‘industry’ consensus.’ Martin continues, ‘we’re very much looking forward to having the opportunity to show people what we’ve got, to get out live as much as possible, hear our songs on the radio and spend some time in the studio recording new songs. We’re really proud of our Silverman and can’t wait to get stuck in. Whatever happens we’ll give it out best shot.’
So how famous exactly do Silverman want to be? ‘Not as famous as Darius.’
With the new single and album to look forward to, there may well just be a happy ending to this particular tale.